May 26, 2022  
2021-2022 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
    
2021-2022 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Aviation Specialization


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Department Contact:

Chair: Dr. Rachel Wagner, rwagner@francis.edu, 814-471-1215
Coordinator: Br. Marius Strom, T.O.R., mstrom@francis.edu, 814-472-3934

Program Description:

The Aviation Specialization, provided in coordination with Nulton Aviation Services, catapults a student with no past flight experience to the edge of commercial aviation, capable of flying for employers ranging from airlines to law enforcement, engineering services, and more. Combining both professional skills for any of these fields with practical flight experience and Federal licensure, this specialization enables students to bring a unique skill to their professional career, including fields such as engineering, public health, business, computer science, and more.

Flight School:

Saint Francis University is a Part 141 flight school under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Student Learning Outcomes:

The SFU Aviation Specialization is designed to take a student with no past flight experience and train them such that they can fly, professionally, a single engine, land-based aircraft in a variety of flight conditions. Those who successfully complete the program would be qualified for a variety of jobs, including:

  • Corporate Pilot
  • Tourism and Sight Seeing Operations
  • Powerline and Pipeline Patrol
  • Law Enforcement
  • Air Charter (often a pipeline into the airline industry)
  • Air Ambulance (fixed wing)

Additionally, with minor, additional training, graduates from this specialization may also provide flight instruction. This specialization also opens a pathway toward future employment as regional and major commercial airline pilots. However, if a student is simply seeking to learn to fly, they can exit the program after any year with a valid license to fly. Each year of the specialization corresponds to a different set of privileges, as shown below.

Year 1 - Private Pilot License

Successful completion of this license grants the ability to legally fly in the US. License holders can fly single engine, land-based aircraft in visual flight conditions (e.g., no rain, snow, etc.) and with passengers. License holders may not fly for hire and cannot be compensated for more than half the cost of a given flight.

Year 2 - Instrument Pilot Rating

The instrument rating confers additional privileges to a licensed pilot: namely, the ability to fly in instrument conditions. This rating does not confer additional privileges with regard to carrying passengers, cargo, etc. or being compensated for flying, but increases the variety of flight conditions one can fly in.

Year 3 - Commercial Pilot License

The commercial pilot license confers the ability to use one’s skills as a pilot for compensation or hire. Upon reception of this license, pilots can fly missions for an employer (e.g., inspection, survey, cargo hauling, etc.) as required, and in a larger variety of aircraft than before as completion of the commercial pilot license also confers certification in complex and high-performance aircraft.

Estimated Completion Time:

3 years, according to a Federally mandated license progression

Admission Requirements:

Medical Certification: required to begin flight laboratory classes

  • FAA Class III medical certificate required
  • Available via appointment with a designated Federal aviation medical examiner.

Proof of citizenship: (one of the following must be provided to the instructor on the first day of class)

  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport;
  • Original or government-issued birth certificate of the U.S., American Samoa, or Swains Island AND a government-issued picture ID;
  • Original certificate of birth abroad with raised seal (Form FS-545 or DS-1350) AND a government-issued picture ID;
  • Original certificate of U.S. citizenship with raised seal (Form N-560 or N-561) or a Certificate of Repatriation (Form N-581) AND government-issued pictured ID;
  • Original U.S. Naturalization Certificate with raised seal (Form N-550 or N-570) AND a government-issued picture ID.

Progression and/or Retention Criteria:

Adequate progression in the program corresponds to successful completion of a new rating/license at the end of each year of the program, as shown below. If these requirements are not met in a given year of the specialization, the student cannot progress to the following year of coursework and must continue taking the previous year’s flight laboratories until the criterion is met.

Year in Specialization Completion required for academic progression
1 Private pilot license
2 Instrument pilot license
3 Commercial pilot license


Transportation Requirements:

All flight lessons are given at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport. 

  • Transportation to the airport is not provided by SFU, though car rentals are available for all students. 
  • Students should budget for an approximately 1.3-hour round-trip commute to the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport as well as at least 1.5 hours for the flight lesson.
  • During the semester, students should anticipate at least one trip to the airport per week per credit of flight laboratory (i.e., AVI 201 AVI 203 AVI 301 , or AVI 302 ). Duration of the flight lesson will vary depending on stage in the program. Several multi-hour lessons will be necessary to meet Federal license requirements.

Total Credits Required:

21 credits

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